A recent video report on NBC stated that many retirees are now moving to college towns in their post-working years. Why? Because college towns offer a lot that can appeal to a retiree’s tastes, including culture, events, and continuing education.
The report goes on to tell us that by 2020, nearly 54 million Americans will be over the age of 65, and that these college towns want them back in class. Professor Gary Kates discusses how older students provide a different and unique point of view to class materials that may have otherwise been missed, making lessons more valuable to the entire class. Additionally, retired individuals can keep their minds active and improve their health through continuing education.
However, one thing that the video did not touch on is that these interactions and participation are not limited to those retiring to college towns. With advancing education technology, anyone over the age of 18 can have a “freshman” year with online education, allowing them to interact with people from around the world. This approach can further broaden the age range, the location of students, and the backgrounds that create interesting interactions in classroom discussions.
Additionally, because retirement is supposed to give you your own schedule, online classes and online discussion groups can be arranged around your schedule, not that of the university.
We don’t disagree that moving to a college town during retirement can’t be an amazing experience. We just don’t want to limit a new student’s potential by age, income, or access. Anyone can take advantage of continuing education, including the retired, but you don’t have to move to do it.